5 Alberta Hikes for Epic Views of the Larches

Larch Hike

We love Alberta Hikes all year round, but there is a short window of the fall that serves us epic views that are hard to compete with. In the spring and summer, the trees are full and green and lush, and although most of them keep green throughout the colder seasons, but there is one type of tree in the coniferous family that turns beautiful shades of yellow and sheds it’s needles – the Larches.

Take advantage of the last stretch of hiking season and the Larch views with this list of 5 Alberta Hikes to check out the Larches!

Larch Valley, Alberta
Larch Valley, Banff National Park, AB

1. Ptarmigan Cirque

Distance: 3.5 km

Estimated Length: 2.5 hours

Elevation gain: 258m

Ptarmigan Cirque is a busy trail South of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on Highway 40 that is accessible for all levels of hiking experience. It is family friendly and has other trails nearby, such as the Poccaterra Cirque or the Pocaterra Ridge for those who are up for more of a challenge.

2. Chester Lake

Distance: 9.6 km

Length: 2+ hours

Elevation gain: 433m

This gorgeous hike is worth the kilometres – most hikers recommend making the extra effort to head up to the Elephant Rocks for the Larch views. This trail is rated moderate as it’s a bit longer and there is a bit more elevation gain.

Chester Lake is stunning and a great Alberta Hike to see the Larches

3. Saddle Mountain via Paradise Valley Trail

Distance: 8.2km

Estimated Length: 4+ hours

Elevation Gain: 658m

Saddle Mountain is a great opportunity to view the Larches without getting caught in the crowds of the Larch Valley – it is located across the lake and is rated moderate with a very steady elevation gain. The climb is worth the panoramic views of the glacier, Larch Valley and Lake Louise.

4.Taylor Lake

Distance: 13.7 km

Estimated Length: 4-5 hours

Elevation Gain: 907m

The uphill grind of the Taylor Lake Trail hike ends with a photo-worthy view of the lake, and a beautiful panoramic view of the Panorama Ridge and Mount Bell. This Alberta hike may take a bit longer, but it will be worth the burning glutes once you reach the top.

Taylor Lake is a great Alberta Hike

5. Burstall Pass Trail

Distance: 16.4km

Estimated Length: 4-5 hours

Elevation Gain: 675m

Last but not least, we would be remiss to not include Burstall Pass on this list – the longest hike on this list is not recommended for the once-a-season hiker, but is the perfect hearty Alberta hike for viewing the fall colours of the gorgeous Larches.

Whichever Alberta hike you choose to get those Larch pics – the goal is to get out within the last week of September for the best views. Remember to tag us in your adventures with #datenightyyc or @datenightyyc!

Ditching the trails and sticking around the city? Click here for more date ideas that don’t involve hiking boots.

Alberta Hikes in the rockies
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